MUSKEGON, Mich. – Tom Schmiedeknecht, former president of Trinity Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS), has been recognized with the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR is a Department of Defense office, which was established in 1972. This award acknowledges continued dedication by a leader to those serving in the National Guard and Reserve Forces.
An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and managers for the support provided directly to the nominating Service member and their family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.
Schmiedeknecht retired in August 2022 after 42 years with Trinity Health EMS, formerly Pro-Med. He was nominated by his son, Mark Schmiedeknecht, BAS, CCEMT-P, who followed in his dad’s footsteps when choosing a career and is now field supervisor with Trinity Health EMS. Mark joined the National Guard in 2020-21 and saw first-hand how his father and Trinity Health EMS supported those serving in the armed forces.
The award was presented to Schmiedeknecht by Roland Ashby, a member of the Michigan ESGR Committee and John Baxter, Area Chair for ESGR in Michigan, during a ceremony at Trinity Health Muskegon on Thursday, Feb 9.
Honored to receive the award, Schmiedeknecht said it was bigger than just a personal accolade for him. “What’s important is that we all support our Guard and Reserves,” he said. “A lot of them are deploying out. We need to be there for them so they can hopefully come back to a world that is a little more normal.”
While the ESGR Patriot Award is specifically for an individual, Trinity Health Muskegon also signed a Statement of Support certificate for their continued efforts in supporting National Guard and Reserve members who work at Trinity Health.
Schmiedeknecht didn’t realize he was nominated for the award and by his son, no less. “You’ve got to support your employees, and we have great people (at Trinity Health EMS) who are part of the Guard and Reserve.”